Regina Dominican and the Leadership Institute welcomed back Kelly Rourke Golden ’89 to speak with students and the public. Kelly is the owner of the fashion emporium Neapolitan and a graduate of Kellogg School of Management. She shared some valuable career advice while telling stories about fashion and friendship. Here are the big lessons we learned:
Your image plays a role in the message that you are trying to create.
Kelly asked the audience to imagine walking into an interview. How are you dressed? How are you perceived based off of your outfit? Whether we think about it or not, the way we dress says something about who we are. When you have dressed appropriately in something you love, you feel better, walk a little taller, and have more confidence.
Maintaining relationships is important for a good life and a good business.
The friendships you make at Regina Dominican are for a lifetime. The acquaintances you meet today may be close friends in the future. You may lose touch with some people in your life, but your paths may cross again. Kelly recommends that you should do your best to maintain your relationships with your friends and family. They will help you throughout your life and your career.
The fashion industry is not always glamorous.
Fashion is fun and rewarding. Kelly has found her passion in her stores and really enjoys her career. However, it takes a lot of hard work to maintain your own business. Someone has to unload boxes, put tags on the clothes, or travel around the world (and not see the tourist attractions). When you are an owner, you are never off the clock. Kelly works very long hours but she is following her passion, which makes it all worth it!
Take any opportunity that comes your way.
Kelly’s first jobs were not potential career makers but taught her a lot. She advises students to take a job in the service industry where you will learn about how to work with (and for) people and how to work long hours. From there, if you do not know what you want to do, try new things. There is always something you will learn from your different experiences in different industries. Absorb all of that information until you find your passion. Once you do, go for it!
Never stop asking questions, especially if you want to become an entrepreneur.
Surround yourself with knowledgeable people and don’t be afraid to seek advice. Ask questions and find answers. If you want to be an entrepreneur, speak with other entrepreneurs. Find out what mistakes they made and what they found to be successful. After that, get to work. Write up a business plan. Kelly says that if you think your project is going to take a year, it’s going to take two. If you think it’s going to cost $50,000, double it. Double everything. You will have to take risks and weigh different outcomes.